February 22, 2011 Comments Off on More coverage of filing of case against Kohona at ICC
AN AUSTRALIAN citizen and senior Sri Lankan diplomat has been accused of complicity in the murders of three surrendering Tamil Tigers in an application to the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands.
The man, Palitha Kohona, was the international face of the Sri Lankan government’s war with separatist militants, the Tamil Tigers, and played an important role in the surrender of Tamil Tiger soldiers following their defeat in May 2009.
But reports of mass killings and the extrajudicial killing of surrendering Tigers have since surfaced. Dr Kohona and the Sri Lankan government strongly deny the claims, and so far the international community has been reluctant to investigate them.
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However, two international Tamil organisations have made a series of war crimes allegations to the International Criminal Court involving Dr Kohona and his role in the negotiated surrender of three Tamil Tigers who are believed to have been killed. More
Inner City Press – Sri Lanka War Crimes Filing with ICC Names UN Nambiar Along With Kohona
February 22, 2011 Comments Off on ATC – War Crimes Complaint Filed Against Former Australian DFAT Official
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE on 22 February 2011 – www.australiantamilcongress.com
War Crimes Complaint Filed Against Former Australian DFAT Official
Tamil rights groups submitted a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC), calling on it for the investigation of Dr. Palitha Kohona, a dual Sri Lankan-Australian national and former senior official at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Dr. Palitha Kohona is alleged to have been involved in war crimes against Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka.
The two leading organisations involved in the submission are US-based Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) and the Swiss Council of Eelam Tamils. “The argument thus far has been it is impossible to file at the ICC because Sri Lanka is not a signatory to the Rome Statute. However, Australia is a signatory, and Kohona’s dual nationality creates a jurisdictional workaround for this crime,” says Rajeev Sreetharan who leads the TAG team.
In Australia, the Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) has continued to gather evidence of war crimes committed in Sri Lanka during the last five years. “Many in the Australian Tamil community have lost loved ones due to what strongly identify as war crimes by Sri Lankan officials onto the Tamils. If a potential criminal is an Australian citizen, this raises questions of whether Australia will indirectly protect a war criminal or whether it will assert its jurisdiction over this crime,” says Dr. Sam Pari, spokesperson for the ATC.
Dr. Kohona was one of a number of senior officials who had negotiated a surrender agreement promising prisoner-of-war status for 3 senior Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam combatants and up to 40 accompanying civilians. There is strong evidence to suggest that these surrendees were executed after their surrender. The submission calls upon an independent investigation into what unfolded during and since their surrender and focuses on all senior United Nations (UN) and Sri Lankan government and military officials involved.
In the months prior to May 2009, during the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka, up to 40,000 civilians, notably Tamils were estimated to have been killed. Human rights groups such as Amnesty International, International Crisis Group and Human Rights Watch have continuously called for an international independent inquiry into war crimes but the Sri Lankan government has been defiant. The UN has since established an ‘Expert Advisory Panel’ but there has been hardly any progress.
Dr. Sam Pari, Australian Tamil Congress – 0433 428 967
February 21, 2011 Comments Off on Breaking News – will a former Aussie diplomat be tried for war crimes?
MARK COLVIN: The International Criminal Court in the Hague overnight received a submission to the Office of the Prosecutor to investigate an Australian citizen for war crimes.
The brief claims that during the last days of Sri Lanka’s civil war the dual Sri Lankan-Australian citizen Dr Palitha Kohona was involved in the murder of three Tamil Tiger leaders who had already surrendered.
The US-based group Tamils Against Genocide has brought the case. They say there’s no way to bring any potential Sri Lankan war criminals to justice in the International Criminal Court. Instead they’re hoping Dr Kohona’s Australian passport will allow a case to proceed.
Sarah Dingle reports.
February 21, 2011 Comments Off on Who will be held accountable for sexual violence against Tamil women?
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) urges Sri Lanka to “promptly investigate, prosecute and punish all acts of violence including sexual violence” which arose during the last stages of the conflict and in the post-conflict phase. Prior to this, ECCHR submitted a report during the 48thSession CEDAW Committee on the foreseeability of sexual violence during the Sri Lanka conflict.
February 21, 2011 Comments Off on The self censoring press under Rajapakse
Committee to Protect Journalists (15/02) – Attacks on the Press 2010: Asia Analysis
by Bob Dietz and Shawn W. Crispin
Lal Wickramatunga’s family and publishing house, Leader Publications, have paid dearly in Sri Lanka’s highly charged political climate. While Leader’s newspapers, including the weeklySunday Leader, are widely known for tough, independent reporting, they have been caught up in a partisan media environment, one filled with violence and censorship. Wickramatunga’s brother has been murdered, his company has been sued, and his journalists face intimidation.
February 20, 2011 Comments Off on A powerful piece on boycotting Galle Festival
Roma Tearne is an advisor to the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice
Roma Tearne’s blog (19/02) – The Galle Literary Festival: A Cultural boycott?
I wasn’t going to say anything. The news from the place where I was born is old news. What I feel about the civil war in Sri Lanka is an old story, too. And anyway, here, in Britain we have enough problems of our own to bother about some pretty island in the Indian Ocean. But then, I read a sentimental little piece about the Galle Literary Festival written by a Sri Lankan writer and it became impossible to stay silent. The writer is Tamil, not born in Sri Lanka but living in the US and her inability to think either clearly or analytically is disturbing. Her article, written with ‘swimming eyes’, in gushing prose, and her reasons for attending the Galle literary festival, are as thin as rice paper.
February 6, 2011 § 1 Comment
Toronto Sun (05/02) – Tamils take their plight to Toronto’s streets
Toronto’s Tamil community have taken it to the streets again.
About 200 people marched outside the Sri Lankan consulate on St. Clair Ave. W. between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Friday protesting the treatment of their fellow Tamils in their homeland.
“Our people are still in a very bad situation,” said Prab Alliah, 50, Ontario chairman of the National Council of Canadian Tamils. “In Sri Lanka (Tamils) are not living as humans, they live as animals,”
Tamil protesters brought the city streets to a halt many times in the spring of 2009 in an effort to convince the Canadian government to stop the war in Sri Lanka.
Friday marked the 63rd anniversary of Sri Lankan independence but Tamils say that is the day they lost their freedom.
Tamils in Sri Lanka are subject to constant oppression, violence and murder, said one protester.
Kandiah, who didn’t want to give his last name, went so far as to call it a “genocide.”
Sify (05/02) – Tamil diaspora marks Sri Lanka independence day as black day
The Tamil diaspora in Canada marked Sri Lanka’s independence day Friday as a ‘black day’ by wearing black badges.
‘We join the Tamils back home in marking this day as a black day. The Tamil diaspora all over the world is mourning this day as a black day,” said David Poopalapillai, national spokesperson for the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC).
‘There will never be justice for Tamil under the current fascist regime in Colombo. Though 200,000 Tamils have been released from camps, there is no rehabilitation. These 200,000 people have become street people, with nowhere to go. Over 30,000 are still languishing in government camps,” he said.